Corruption in Nagaland: mystery of all mysteries

Rokovizo Kuotso Angami Naga: Stories of corruption among the high and mighty have shaken India in recent times. However, no news of that size and shape has emerged from Nagaland. If anyone is saying anything on this it has certainly not made a splash. It seems as though the only honest politicians and bureaucrats left in the country are in Nagaland. What a joke! It is popularly believed by all and sundry that pretty much the entire government in our state is corrupt. There is bribery from the clerk to the minister level. Crores and crores of rupees in development fund disappear into the ever open jaws of the state government, which do little justify their existence. The ministers whiz around in cars with red lights on top and bodyguards in tow, acting important. When they are not doing this they presumably occupy themselves by doing destructive politics and trying to pull each other down. There is no outcry about this and no one says anything loud, though everyone knows what is happening. Sometimes, rarely, some proofs emerge in public. The elites always say only one thing, "it is Delhi’s fault". If everything is Delhi's fault and state governments are merely decorative, then they are a pointless drain on the economy. It would be far better and more productive to downsize them drastically and give the funds straight to people's banks in cash. It would still be money for nothing, which everyone loves, and it would be more honest and direct. Why this charade of running offices for the benefit of local people. And don't let it be said that it is outsider who are to blame for all this. The outsider may have had some portion of the blame. But for years now it has been the local elites who are cheating their own people. It is the local elites who control governments and hold power. They've cried wolves about outsiders for decades but they're the biggest wolves in their own areas. They just dress in local sheep clothing. The region’s backwardness is not the fault of Bangladeshi rickshawallas or bihari Channa wallahs, or even of Bengali clerks or Manipuri teachers.  

The blame for that lies squarely with the region's rich and powerful leaders, including the UGs. They have had great power for decades. What of the responsibility that came with? Have they fulfilled their responsibilities? If Nagaland or any part of Nagas for that matter is to progress, it has to sort out the issues that plague development. As long as the wealth of the people is being looted by the corrupt elites (who divert attention by pointing the outsiders or in the name of freedom struggle), the common people will suffer. They must understand that it is in their interest to have clean system that work efficiently. It will lead to development for all. The world is racing with or without Nagaland. The choice is simple. Join the race, or join the list of place where no one cares about until guns and bombs go off.  

Think Afghanistan. Living in such a place is a hell on earth. Respect has to be earned. It cannot be gotten by beating the weak people, or permanently going around with a weapon asking for money. There is no glory in that. If the Nagaland economy prosper, if there are fine infrastructure and industry in addition to its stupendous natural beauty and rich cultural mosaic, people will actually give us respect. Now all they give it is a mix of curiosity and sympathy at best, and active denigration at its worst. The only real respect for the region at present is for its musical and sporting talent. If you are a person who cares about your region, the first thing you need to do is look at it honestly. Don't let false pride or insecurity prevent you from admitting the truths you know in your heart to be true. No illness can be cured if the patients deny that he needs medicine. Our systems are sick. They need fixing!  

My experience on World Music Day

Arenjunla Kichu: Honestly, I reached the venue a little too early but I thought the pamphlet read four while I actually reached at five. On my way, me and my friend thought that we’d be so late but reality has it that we were a little too early.  

I reached the venue and I was thrilled to see ‘Tune up Channel’ up in the stage and they were actually taking care of the sound systems and stuffs. I honestly am like the biggest fan of this incredible band so I kept staring at the band but never managed to just walk up to them and say how much of a huge fan I was.  

But that was not important. The thing that really killed me was, being this huge Mesut Ozil fan, the Germany match against Northern Ireland was about to begin in 9:30 and I was dying to see my Mesut back on the pitch. But then the ‘Tune Up Channel’ was set to take the stage only at serial no. 13 and it was nearing seven. The show was still not starting!  

Then like a teaser, Tune up Channel begin to play one song as an opener and I just got pumped more and more to watch them. I could not leave the show without watching them perform. So, I made up my mind reluctantly to skip Mesut’s match and wait till the serial 13.  

The show actually started at 7 and I don’t know… the moment these incredible artists took the stage one after the other, I was head over heels for them. It was not just talent nor was it just songs but these people actually look more beautiful and more handsome in real life than in pictures!  

The way they got comfortable on the stage and the way they were reacting to the crowd’s response; it was amazing. And it hit me; an artist on the stage needs nothing but some cheers, some loves and some reaction from the fans. The moment the crowd starts to respond, these people on the stage will definitely react to it and there will be no awkwardness, no insecurity and before you know it, they will ignite the stage.  

I had an amazing time when the “Infuse band” took the stage. The front man was bold enough to have a little chat with the crowd and to set himself free on the stage. I admired that and honestly, he became a little too hot for me and my friends to handle. I did not know the song but I definitely sang along with him because they owned the stage. And they just got better when they did a rock version of “Royal” by Lorde. It was just so creative and I watched them feeling proud that it was actually our people, our very own Nagas setting the fire on stage and making me fan-girl like ‘Joe Jonas’ was up on the stage.  

The excitement hit a new level when “Tune Up Channel” actually hit the stage to perform three songs and watching these people taking over the stage, my heart exploded. Every little thing they did was so professional, so organized and beautifully performed. I was disappointed when they left the stage without singing their hit single “Tomorrow With You” but that was okay because they were beautiful. And If I was being completely honest, this band definitely is a band not just for the guys but even for the girls. I don’t know they got the charm and the look.  

I know I was being a little unfair but I sadly left the venue after “Tune Up Channel” because I had a football match to watch. Mesut Ozil’s match are really important to me, sorry. But I know that the night went incredibly successful with more talents taking the stage. And to what I have heard, Kohima and Dimapur must have had their nights. I really wanted to see “Polar Lights”, “Incipit”, “Virie Kts” and “Young Dirrt” live but I had my own share of fun. I’m sharing this experience because I want each of us to ask to ourselves, “If we can spend an amount of 3K for an artist from another country, why can’t we listen to an artist from our own land for free?” A lot of us would say “because they are not good enough”. But why are they not good enough? Is it the studio quality? Is it the sound system? Or is it just our mentality because we find them easily? Or is it that they are really not worth it? If they are not worth enough than I believe no musicians in this whole wide world is not worth enough for us.  

Struggling artists will never ask a price because it would be a shame. Artists will always be happy for an opportunity given to them to show their talents through a performance. But are we that greedy to enjoy that pleasure without a price? Are we that ignorant to ignore talents and take them for granted? Are we that naïve to not know when to appreciate a beauty in our kitchen but appreciate a star in the sky?  

I know Nagas have the kindest and the noblest heart and I love this place and the people with all my heart. But it hurts when we are not grateful for what we have and for what we are. So, can I for once just make a request to all of us to just please come together and support the artists. Can we for once just give these people a chance that they so deserved? Can we for once just appreciate and take in the blessings that are all around us? If we cannot take pleasure and joy with what we have in this short life, when will we ever be proud of ourselves? When will we ever be happy and cherish each other’s life?  

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Naga Blog.